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Hive Masters

by John Hare

Hive Masters are mages who have an affinity with bees and have studied them extensively. A hive master must own at least one beehive in addition to an alchemy lab to produce some of the effects. They also gain the ability to talk to their little charges. Normal reaction roles are required, plus he has to convince the queen that this is a good course of action, but they tend to only understand limited instructions.

1st Circle

Protection from Bees: This provides complete protection vs. normal bees, and will keep at bay a number of HD of giant bees equal to the casters level. Lasts for 1 turn/level. This allows a hive master to walk among his tiny charges without dimming their reactions with smoke, or being forced to wear protective clothing.

Resistance to Poison: With skill and access to bee venom, a hive master can build up resistance to other toxins. By taking a round to prepare himself he gains a temporary bonus to his saves equal to his highest circle mastery. Thus if the mage can use circle 2 abilities fully he gets a +2 to poison saves. Lasts for 1 turn/level

2nd Circle

Manufacture Honey: With 200gp worth of flower ingredients and his bees a hive master can produce 2 doses of magic honey, each does which can heal 1d4 pts of damage. This honey takes a week of uninterrupted work (similar to normal magical creation rules) to create.

Venom: With 500gp worth of ingredients and his bees the hive master can create a potion of poison from bee venom in a 4-week period. Careful and constant care must be used to safely harvest the poison from the bees without killing them. A hive master can also create an antidote for this poison for only 250gp and one week time.

Bug Eyes: A hive master takes on the eyes of a giant bee. This gives him 360-degree vision for 1 turn/level. Of course during this time his charisma lowers by 2 for humans/humanoids. It also makes the hive master harder to surprise (Only on a 1 in 8 chance).

Command & Control: By using this power the hive master can control a number of HD of giant bees equal to his level for 1 turn/level. After the hive master's control has expired the bees must make a reaction check to find how they will treat the hive master. Depending on what actions the hive master demanded will affect their roll (causing them to attack and be killed, stealing their honey are negative, while having them scout, pollinate flowers are more positive) a friendly reaction means that the hive master may take them on as followers, as if his Charisma is 18. A negative reaction means they attack. A critical failure means the bees see the hive master as a threat and attack him and those with him immediately.

3rd Circle

Swarm: The hive master can call his normal bees into an insect swarm similar to the druid spell insect plague. Of course he may lose a great number of his charges and thus need to rebuild his hive afterwards. He may call one swarm per beehive he controls once a month. Should he call on the same hive twice in that month it will become so depleted that it takes a year to recover. A third call on the same hive means that it has been completely used up. This swarm is treated as the one described in the RC, starting with 2HD, +1 for each circle mastered over the third (thus 3HD with complete skill with 4th circle abilities).

Stinger Hands: The hive master with this skill grows bee stingers from his hands. These stingers act similar to giant bee stingers doing 1d3 pts of damage, save vs. poison or die, and cause 1 pt of damage/round until removed. This effect on the hands lasts for 1 round/level, but injected stingers keep doing damage until removed.

Wings: The hive master grows wings from his back and can travel at 150'/50' flying. He can also hover. Lasts for 1 turn/level.

4th Circle

Improve the Hive: This little understood ability when used changes one giant bee from 1/2 HD to 2 HD warrior bee which doesn't die when it stings. It also regrows a lost stinger in 3 rounds. Only a number of these warrior bees can be made (one per level) and are automatically loyal to the hive master (considers the hive master to be equivalent to a queen). It takes 2 weeks to improve a bee, but the change damages its life span and will die after one year from its improvement (assuming that giant bees last longer than normal ones).

5th Circle

House the Hive: This bizarre ability actually joins the hive master and his hive together as one, the bees nest in hump on the hive masters back and can be called upon to swarm when ever their home (the hive master) is threatened. One of the benefits of this action is that the hive master is rarely surprised (1 on a d8), another is that he can use any magic honey stored in the hive to heal himself without using his normal action. Basically the bees feel that the hive is damaged and move the honey into the hive master's blood stream where it takes effect, the healing rate is 1d4 per round until all the doses of honey are used. One of the main drawbacks is that the hive master can never be immersed in water or the bees still in the hive will try and sting their way out, which will result in the hive master's death. Being caught in a rainstorm will also cause damage if the hive master isn't completely protected (i.e. rain is getting into the hive). Unlike most other secret crafts there can be more than one master of the 5th circle for hive masters. However because of their hives they automatically seek to destroy each other if they come within 1 mile of each other. A critical failure of this skill means that the bees are the controlling interest in the hive and move the hive master around as they see fit.